Friday, 30 April 2010

Mont Blanc on Skis

Mike on the summit.
Traversing by the Junction

Spring has sprung!

and we went rock climbing!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Bernese Oberland ski touring

Above. Mike at the Lotschenluke preparing for the long ski down to Fafleralp and Blatten. Behind left is the Gross Fiesherhorn and center is the Finsteraarhorn.
Climbing up towards the summit of the Gross Fiesherhorn
Mike on the summit of the Gross Fiesherhorn (4048 m)

We are back in Chamonix after few days ski touring in the Bernese Oberland. From The Monsjoch Hut we climbed the Gross Fisherhorn, and then made our way to spend the night at the Finsteraarhorn hut. From there we went to ski up the Finsteraarhorn, but several small things went wrong in the morning using up precious time and eventually it all added up to us being simply too late to make the summit safely so unfortunately as a guide I had to make the call to back off, which of course sparked some heavy discussion, but its a guides life to make calls like that! The weather was closing in , so we decided to make an exit and after going back to the Finsteraarhorn hut we skinned over the Grunhornluke and had good ski down to the steep ladders which took us to the Konkordia hut where we enjoyed some mid morning tea. We then continued on to skin up to the Lotschenluke and then a great ski down to Fafleralps and had to walk the last three kilometers into Blatten. From Blatten after a well deserved beverage we caught the bus back to my car and drove home to Chamonix. Next on the cards is some rope skills refresher training and maybe some rock climbing and a plan to ski Mont Blanc in the next few days.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Aig D' Argentiere (3909m)

Well after an interesting train journey we made it to Geneva, my car and a short drive to Chamonix. Fortunately we got to Chamonix in time to have a rapid change of clothing and caught a late cable car to Grand Montets where we skied and skinned over to the Refuge Argentiere ( 2723 m). Its was ace to be in the mountains again, and we had hoped for a good nights sleep but unfortunately there was a person staying at the hut who went into a diabetic hypo glyaemic coma! Yep, a serious situation and people were running around like headless chickens. But eventually some one popped their head into the guides room and I said, give him sugar and you will find everything else he needs in his rucksack. Then I heard my clients Mike voice and I new that things would be under control. The correct thing to do was to give the casualty sugar but this was complicated case as the casualty was unconscious and fitting so was unable to take and sugar himself and repulsed any help. However Mike got the job done and the chap was fine, but it took a while. Also it transpired that the chap was not carrying any Glucagon himself so its all a bit strange really as if you are ever in the mountains with a diabetic almost always they are good at checking their blood sugar levels and also carry an emergency supply of Glucagon! So, we have no idea why this chap did not have any!
Anyway, suffice to say that the man recovered and eventually everyone got back to bed. In the morning we were up by 6.00 am and Mike was an obvious hero for all his efforts. We left the hut and on skis skinned to the bergchrund on the Aig D' Argentiers, left the skis there and then roped up and with crampons climbed to the summit. The climb down back to our skis was simple enough and the ski down was ace although there was bit of wet sugary snow around at lower altitudes. An ace day!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


At the weekend we went climbing and since then we have had quite bit of new snow on the tops and down to the base of the foot of the crags and climbing areas. The skiing on Cairngorm Mountain remains good although it's bit sugary on the lower slopes next to the car park, but cover remains really good and ski touring is excellent.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Thursday 15 May, SAIS Braemar, farewell

My friend Alan Dennis fly back to Revelstoke this weekend, last Thursday he hosted a wonderful get together and farewell at the Braemar Mountain Rescue centre where we were based for our avalanche forecasting work all winter. The winter season comes to close although there is still lots of snow for ski touring and gully climbing! I too would like to thank everyone at Braemar and Glenshee for being so welcoming to us. The Ski area, the piste drivers, the ski patrol and girls in the staff lunch canteen. Also a huge thanks to BMRT for all their invaluable support and local advise! Colin Bruce , Peter and staff at the wonderful world class ski shop for his help and assistance with hasty and professional ski binding repairs! Thanks too of course to Mark Diggins and SAIS and those who fund( via Sport Scotland) this important work. This year avalanches extended well beyond the recreation zone, stopping trains and closing roads. It's been an interesting, wonderful and experience enhancing winter season. Thanks to all!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Great off piste skiing on Grand Montets

Above, North face of Les Droite and looking on to the N.E. spur of Les Courtes!

Tom, hauling me from a crevasse this afternoon, a planned training event!

Well, around 15 to 20 cms. of fresh snow on the upper runs at Argentiere today, wow!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Ski Tour - the Haute Route

Above: The Matterhorn viewed from the Col de Valpalline (3577m) ,

Just back in Chamonix after skiing with Harry from Verbier through to Zermatt. It's been an ace trip with lots of laughs , some nice snow and wonderful skiing. Trying of course to impart lots of mountaineering knowledge and perhaps mountain guides wisdom to this fantastic student! Today we went from the Cabane des Vignettes over three cols (Col de l'Eveque, Col du Mont Brule ad Col de Valpelline) and then enjoyed an outstanding ski descent down the Stocki gletcher then on to the Zmutt gletcher which brings one to Schwartzee and to the lift system at Furi which took us into Zermatt. The skiing in Zermatt is still mostly open and good although lower run we took to Furi was very soft and sugary!
Above : Harry puts skins on to his skis at the Glacier du Cheilon, behind is the Cabane des Dix

Harry on the summit of the Rosablanche 3363 m.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Chamonix ski mountaineering

Harry doing his best with a Bachman knot during a crevasse rescue training session
It's bleeping, now dig for it! Harry with transceiver.

Argentier basin and pretty good off-piste skiing!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Alpine Ski Mountaineering

Above : avalanche in the Paridis range, Italy
Above: strong winds on the high summit of the Gran Paridis
Judit, enjoying the ski descent on our return to the refuge Chabot!